District: Dakshina Kannada
Temple: Nellitheertha Cave Temple
Nellitheertha Cave Temple – Overview
There is a temple dedicated to Somanatheshwara or Lord Shiva in Nellitheertha. This temple dates back to the 15th century. This temple has a Shiva Linga and also shrines for Maha Ganapathi and Jabali Maharishi.
Nellitheertha Cave Temple – Architecture
The Nellitheertha Cave Temple is located inside this temple. Near the entrance, to the left, this cave has a huge entrance, but once inside, you have to crawl on your knees to proceed. Inside, there is a lake and a Shiva Linga. The lake was formed by water dripping into the cave in droplets. The droplets look like Nelli which means gooseberry. This is the reason for the name Nellitheertha.
Nellitheertha Cave Temple – Mythology
There was an Asura named Arunasura who managed to get the blessing of Sage Jabali and got from him the sacred Gayathri Mantra. He started misusing the power of this Mantra and began to harass the world. Maharishi Jabali was not aware of this as he was performing meditation all the while. Learning from Narada Maharishi of Arunasura’s atrocities, Jabali decided that he had to set right a situation that he in a way helped create. He performed a penance to Devi Durga and the Goddess, pleased with him, assured him that she will help him. She confronted Arunasura and killed him in a place called Kateel. Kateel is a temple town near Nellitheertha. Devi Durga also granted another wish of Jabali – she, Lord Shiva and Maha Vishnu decided to reside in the region. Shiva took up residence in Nellitheertha itself. Devi Durga took her lace in a temple in Muchur and Maha Vishnu resided in a temple in Kompavadu. Both regions are located near Nellitheertha.
How to Get to Nellitheertha
Nellitheertha is near Mangalore. You can get a direct bus from Mangalore to Nellitheertha. It is also very near Kateel a famous temple town. Nellitheertha lies at a distance of just eight kilometers from Kateel.